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BurmaNet News May 6, 1996

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"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: May 6, 1996
Issue #400


May 3, 1996

Aung san Suu Kyi's party is confident it will prevail in its
years-long battle of wills with the military government.Ethan
Casey reports from Rangoon.

Despite restrictions on its leader's movements and the military
government's increasing unwillingness to deal with it, Burma's
National League for Democracy is rebuilding.

The party, which won 80 per cent o the vote in the 1990 general
election but was denied the chance to form a government, found
itself in disarray last July when NLD general secretary Aung San
Suu Kyi was released from house arrest.

Now, almost six months after the NLD pulled out of a military-
sponsored constitutional convention, party leaders and workers
convey an air of confidence in the face of odds that seem steeper
than ever.

The government, or State Law and Order Restoration Council as it
calls itself, decided to end its limited dialogue with the NLD in
December, a high-ranking Slorc official told a diplomat.
Approached again in March, the official repeated the assertion.

Such news does not dismay Suu Kyi. "It is obvious that they have
not been thinking of any substantive dialogue," she said last week.

"It is very, very normal for dictatorial governments to refuse to
talk to the opposition, because they believe that they have all
the guns and all the power, there's no need for them to talk.

"But then the time comes when they realise there's no alternative."

NLD activists believe the Slorc hoped Suu Kyi's release would
split the party into quarrelling factions under her and chairman
Aung Shwe. Instead, the party's several splinters obeyed Suu
Kyi's call to unite. "We are now reorganizing," says a worker at
NLD headquarters. "Differences of opinion are still there, but
the NLD is now functioning as one unit."

The party faces several obstacles in its task of rebuilding, said
the worker. First is a 1991 Slorc order banning recruitment by
any political party. "That order is still in force," he said. "So
we have to dodge this order."

In addition, local authorities are, with rare exception, hostile
to the NLD and the party has been repeatedly denied permission
to hold public meetings. Also, some political differences and
personal animosities within the party remain.

"Youths are not very patient," remarked the party worker. "They
are becoming impatient."

The party also faces different problems in Rangoon and Mandalay,
the country's two largest cities. Noting ethnic and economic rivalries 
in Mandalay, Suu Kyi said the party is moving cautiously there. 
Tensions exist, she said, "between Burmese and Chinese, and even 
between the Burmese and some of the ethnic groups who have now 
built up business interests there. And that is a great pity and a great 
danger, and we would not like to exacerbate the situation."
Rangoon, on the other hand, is the city of government
employees," said another worker.

They have their sympathies, but they cannot actively participate
in our movement."

Several recent incidents demonstrate the junta's determination to
restrict the movements and access of the party's leadership
especially Suu Kyi, to the public. On March 13 she tried to
travel to Mandalay to give moral support to followers who had
been arrrested after performing a comedy sketch critical of the
government. She got as far as the train station, but her first-class 
carriage developed sudden and unexplained technical problems.

"It's like the games of children," said a diplomat who was at the
station that day. "The Slorc cannot officially stop her visiting
Mandalay. That's why the Slore did such a thing."

Then on April 16, Suu Kyi was prevented from leading a procession
from her house to a place where she could release fish in a ceremony 
to mark the Burmese New Year. Burma watchers are expecting similar 
incidents around July 19, the anniversary of the 1947 assassination of 
Gen Aung San, Burma's national hero and Suu Kyi's father.

"Slore is very frightened of too close contact between the public
and us, the leaders of the NLD," she said.

"They know very well that this would show very clearly that we
have very, very strong support.

"And that is why they don't want us to go to the train, they
don't want us to have a procession to release fish, because they
know as well as everybody else does that we would get such
tremendous public support that it would completely destroy all
their claims about having the support of the people."

What also is shown, though, is that Suu Kyi's release from house
arrest was more conditional than the junta claimed at the time.

"The international community should know that she is still
restricted," said a source close to her. "And not in a gentlemanly way."

The driver of a taxi taking a journalist to meet Suu Kyi made no
secret of his admiration for her. "She says, Try to escape fear," he said.

The driver's openness was "probably because he sees you a Westerner - 
as somebody who is no danger to him, remarked Suu Kyi.

"And it is a great pity that quite often now Burmese people see
fellow Asians as people with whom they have to be cautious, in
case they were to be reported to the government."

Despite recent setbacks and the junta's inflexibility, there remains a 
palpable sense that sooner or later, something must give.

What that will be remains to be seen. But NLD supporters remain
oddly confident. "Democracy is not very far away," said the taxi
driver. "Coming soon."


May 1, 1996, Purchase, NY

BurmaNet Editor's Note: Reverend Joseph P. La Mar, of the Maryknoll
Fathers and Brothers, presented the shareholders' proposed resolution 
for a code of conduct at the PepsiCo shareholders meeting. Rev. David 
Schilling, followed him and his speech is posted below.

The same shareholder's resolution cannot be introduced again next year, 
because this year's resolution received less than 6% of the vote.  However,
according to Simon Billenness, other resolutions dealing with Burma could
be introduced. For instance, shareholders could propose a resolution asking 
Pepsico to report on the impact of the consumer and municipal Burma boycotts 
or a  resolution focusing specifically on PepsiCo's connection to forced
labor in Burma.  In the meantime, several student groups have indicated that
they will continue to fight for the cancellation of all Pepsi contracts on campus.
Zarni and other members of the Free Burma Coalition are also planning a
worldwide hunger strike beginning on October 7, 1996 to raise awareness
about the situation in Burma and to highlight the involvement of multinational
corporations in perpetuating the SLORC's rule.

Rev. David Schilling, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

     I am Rev. David Schilling of the ICCR, representing a filer of  this 
resolution, the National Council of Churches.  I second this proposal and 
urge a yes vote by other shareholders.

     Our Company operates and sells its product in an increasing number of 
countries around the globe.  International markets have become important to 
the company's continued growth.  In 1995 Pepsi derived $8.7 billion of its net 
sales, 29%, from its operations and activities outside the United States.  As Pepsi 
considers moving into new markets in new countries, it is essential to have policies
in place related to the human rights context.

     Currently, Pepsi has a positive statement of its values in its Worldwide Code 
of Conduct, which covers ten broad points including respect for employees, 
safety and environmental protection.  What is missing is a carefully thought 
through section on human rights criteria, which would guide our company in 
making decisions, about whether or not to invest in a country like Burma, where 
there are on-going systemic violations of human rights, flagrant disregard for 
the rights enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

It is essential to develop new approaches and criteria since the "constructive 
engagement" policy has failed to produce positive changes in Burma.  Rather 
we see the human rights of Burmese citizens deteriorating - forced labor 
continues; illegal detention of  pro-democracy leaders continues; villages are 
destroyed and people forcibly removed; Aung San Suu Kyi's call for dialogue 
with SLORC goes unanswered.

Developing the human rights criteria called for in this  resolution would apply 
not only to Burma but world-wide, prompting discussion and debate about 
economic operations in such countries as China, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria.  We 
are not calling for Pepsi to create its own country by country foreign policy, 
but to develop human rights criteria that express the company's highest 
standards of ethics and integrity on a global basis.  We are not calling for 
Pepsi to meddle in the internal politics of countries, but to recognize its 
responsibility to make clear-headed decisions, based on its assessment of 
whether or not its presence in a given country provides legitimacy to an 
illegitimate government which acts against the will of its own people and 
against Pepsi's stated values of respect for the individual.

We applaud Pepsi's decision to sell its share of PepsiCo Product, Myanmar.  
This is an important step in the right direction.  We urge our Board of 
Directors and management to sever all ties with Burma.  We urge Pepsi to 
codify in its Worldwide Code of Conduct human rights criteria, and be
known as a company that takes human rights seriously in its policies 
and actions.  I urge a yes vote on this proposal. END


May 3, 1996
Washington, AFP

Burma's critics in the United States suffered a setback on Wednesday 
when PepsiCo shareholders soundly defeated a resolution urging the 
company to end license agreements in the military-ruled country.

But they welcomed Pepsi's decision last week to sell its 40 percent 
stake in a Burmese bottling plant, partly in response to civic pressure 
to sever economic links there, and vowed to continue their campaign.

A shareholder resolution aimed at forcing Pepsi to end its 
franchise and licensing agreements in Burma drew only 4.2 
percent of votes cast at Pepsi's annual meeting on Wednesday 
in Purchase, New York, its sponsors said.

Such a small percentage means the resolution cannot be 
introduced again, according to Father Joseph La Mar, a Roman 
Catholic priest whose order has led shareholder pressure on 
PepsiCo Inc to pull out of Burma.

"We had a pretty good representation coming at the Burma 
issue," La Mar, who introduced the resolution, said by 
telephone from his office in Maryknoll, New York.

A growing student movement against US economic involvement in 
Burma and new laws in a half-dozen US cities barring or restricting 
contracts with companies operating in Burma "have taken over," he said.

"If we don't pay attention, it will hurt us," La Mar said, 
adding that his group wanted to "thank and applaud them 
(Pepsi) for the step they did take. It was a big step for them."

Pepsi, whose subsidiaries include fast-food chains Kentucky 
Fried Chicken and Taco Bell, announced last week that it was 
selling off its 40 percent stake in a Burmese bottling plant.

Its franchise and licensing agreements, which are not due to 
expire for several years, are to remain. No comment from 
Pepsi was available on Wednesday, but company officials have 
said in the past that they believe their activities in Burma 
have raised standards of living and shown the benefits of democracy.

Shareholders at Texaco Inc and Unocal Corp have introduced 
similar resolutions urging the two US oil companies to cease 
operations in Burma. (BP)


May 3,1996
Ethan Casey

Rangoon _ Faced with stringent de facto restrictions on her 
movements, and with many in and outside Burma wondering how 
effective her National League for Democracy can be in ridding 
the country of its military government, Aung San Suu Kyi 
remains sure of her principles and confident of eventual success.

"No, I don't think we're in a tight corner," she said last 
week at her house in Rangoon. "We're certainly not in an 
ideal situation, because the Slorc is doing everything it possibly can 
to try to restrict us. But I would not say that we're in a tight corner."

Asked if her inability to move freely about the country or 
even around Rangoon is a cause of frustration, she replied: 
"I think it probably is a frustration for some of my 
followers. It's not a frustration for me because, well, this 
is part of political life in Burma. But I think what it does 
prove is that Slorc is very frightened of too close contact 
between the public and us, the leaders of the NLD."

Since March 13, when the railroad car on which she had a 
ticket to travel to Mandalay developed sudden and unexplained 
technical problems, she no longer gives the Slorc advance 
notice of her planned movements. One day recently she made an 
unannounced visit to a public market and was flocked by the women there.

"I think that annoyed the Slorc very much," she said with a 
smile. "I think they wrote an article, one of their usual articles, which 
did indicate that had upset them very much. Every time they attack us, 
you can be sure that they've been upset about something."

Asked where in Burma the NLD is most effectively rebuilding, 
she replied that it is "strongest here in the headquarters, 
because we can quickly implement whatever we want to do. But 
it's difficult to say where the NLD is strongest, because 
sometimes unexpectedly you find the NLD is doing quite well 
in some small town in a rural area where you would have 
expected a lot of oppression."

At a press conference last Nov 29, Suu Kyi seemed to come 
close to saying she would never call her followers onto the 
streets. "We do not like to call the people onto the streets,
" she said then, "and we have no intention of calling the 
people onto the streets."

Asked last week to clarify, she said: "In politics you don't 
rule anything out. I've never made any statement that would 
put me in the position of having to go back on my word, so I 
never say I'll never do this or I'll never do that. In 
politics you should not say never. But obviously it's not the 
kind of tactics that I would willingly use, ever."

Responding to a diplomat's suggestion that the NLD is playing 
"defensive cricket," she replied: "We never do that. In any 
case, I don't know anything about cricket, and I don't think 
anybody in the NLD knows how to play cricket. So we wouldn't 
know exactly what he means.

"But if he thinks it's that we're just waiting and watching 
for things to happen, he's very wrong. We have a good agenda 
and we stick to it. But of course it's a flexible agenda, 
because we're very much aware of the fact that circumstances 
could change, something could arise which could make it 
necessary for us to change our agenda. We are flexible. We 
believe in flexibility. But we don't believe in the waiting game."

Some observers believe Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders might be 
hoping or trying to lure the Slorc into arresting them, as a 
way of galvanising support for the NLD.

"I don't think Gandhi or Martin Luther King courted arrest 
for the sake of being arrested," she rejoined when asked if 
that was her plan. "I think what they were trying to show was 
that even at the risk of imprisonment, one must do what one 
has to do. That, the NLD leaders believe entirely. We know 
that what we do may well lead to imprisonment, but that will 
not stop us from carrying out our duties."

Yet she admits her re-arrest might indeed help the cause. "I 
do not think our arrest would in any way hurt the movement 
for democracy," she said. "I think that by rearresting us it 
would probably give a new momentum to the movement for 
democracy. So it does not worry us from a purely tactical 
point of view. We believe in hoping for the best and 
preparing for the worst. And I wouldn't call that the worst, actually."

Her death, on the other hand, might "create some 
consternation and chaos within the ranks" she acknowledged. 
"But I'm sure that we would be able to find the strength to 
pull through because we do have a lot of able people in the 
NLD. And although I am the front person, as it were, I do not 
work alone. And whatever people think, we do decide matters 
by consensus within the leadership of the NLD."

She said she was unruffled to hear that, according to sources 
to the junta, the Slorc has definitely ruled out any dialogue 
with the NLD because of her outspoken criticism.

"It could be true, it could not be true," she said, "and it 
does not worry us anyway. Because in any case it is obvious 
that they have not been thinking of any substantive dialogue.

And unless they have substantive dialogue, it's no use to 
anyone in this country. And you see, so many dictatorial 
governments have ruled out dialogue with the opposition, but 
then they had to come to dialogue." (TN)


May 3, 1996

The Burmese government has not honoured its promise to 
develop minority communities in Ho Mong village after drug 
kingpin Khun Sa and his Mong Tai Army gave in to the central 
administration, an un-named MTA senior figure said yesterday.

An agreement had been reached between the MTA and the Burmese 
government that the latter would develop the living conditions of Ho 
Mong people if the former gave up its rebellious movement.

Although the MTA had officially surrendered early in January, 
the Burmese government said that it was not ready to conduct 
any development schemes for Ho Mong which used to be the MTA 
headquarters, the source said.

The message was given to Khun Sa's son, Chao Cham Huang, 
during his meeting with Burmese government officials in Rangoon in 
March. It really upset Ho Mong people, the source said.

The case reflected that the Government was lying with its 
promise to develop communities of ethnic minorities which 
gave up their separatism attempts, the source said.

On the other hand, the Government turned a blind eye on drug 
trafficking like amphetamines and heroin in the central 
market Ho Mong. The drugs could be easily bought at low 
prices, the source said, adding such a stance could be viewed 
as an attempt to destroy Ho Mong people in the long run. (BP)


May 5, 1996

Land classified as A-1 watershed could be used for the Yadana gas pipeline 
if the Cabinet approves an Industry Ministry proposal. The watershed area, 
which lies between the Burmese border and Thong Pha Phum District, 
Kanchanaburi, has the highest level of statutory protection because of its 
importance to the local environment.

In addition, said a source, the ministry is to seek permission to compensate 
villagers to leave their homes along the pipeline route. The project, to be 
undertaken by the Petroleum Authority of Thailand, entails laying a 400km 
pipeline from the Yadana field, 320 km south of Rangoon in the Gulf of 
Martaban, to Thong Pha Phum.

It will be cut through virgin forest in Kanchanaburi and eastern Burma, 
including areas held by anti-Rangoon rebels.  The authority expects to take 
delivery of gas in July 1998 at a 1,400-megawatt power plant to be built by the 
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand in Ratchaburi.

The source said the ministry will also asked the Cabinet to exempt the 12-
billion-baht pipeline project from countertrade arrangements.

According to a cabinet resolution, any deal worth more than 
500 million baht between a state agency and a foreign party 
requires that party to import Thai goods of the same value.

But since international bids were to be called for construction, and since 
Thailand has to abide by international practice and foreign loan conditions, 
the ministry wanted the arrangement waived to ensure the project's progress.

The National Economic and Social Development Board, said the 
source, has recommended the funds for the project be split 
into 12.9 billion baht in foreign currency and 3.5 billion baht.

The source also said talks are under way between the authority and Texaco, 
which is developing Burma's Yetagun offshore gas field, to use the Yadana 
pipeline to send gas to the Ratchaburi plant. (BP)


BURMA TO ARF   May 3, 1996 (abridged)
By Nussara Sawatsawang

Burma should be admitted, without conditions, to the Asean 
Regional Forum (ARF) because of its eventual membership to 
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Foreign Minister 
Kasem S. Kasemsri said yesterday.

"Some might object, but we in Asean think that it's necessary 
that all our members and all those eligible to become members 
are in the ARF, unconditionally," M.R. Kasem said.

He said referring to opposition by certain Western countries 
which advocate isolation of Burma to pressure its military 
leadership to respect human rights and to democratise.

The Asean Regional Forum was established two years ago as a 
"loose consultative forum" to discuss security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Nineteen countries are currently taking part _ the seven 
Asean members, its seven dialogue partners _ the United 
States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, 
the European Union, its two consultative partners _ Russia and China,
and its three observers _ Papua New Guinea, Laos and Cambodia.


May 3,1996

More than 4,000 Burmese refugees have suffered from shortage 
of food as Thai border officials have not allowed a foreign 
non-governmental organisation to transfer food supplies 
across the border since March.

Victor Numan, a field coordinator of the Burmese Border 
Consortium (BBC), reportedly asked chief of the operational 
team for border camps Saroj Worarat to push for Thai 
authorities' permission for his agency to send food supplies 
to Mae Ta Raw Khee Camp in Burma.

According to the non-governmental organisation, Thai border 
officials have prohibited its staff from using a road in 
Umphang District for transferring food supplies to the camp 
since March this year.

The officials reportedly claimed the Interior Ministry has a 
policy to prevent food and arms transfers from Thailand to 
Burma so that ethnic rebels in Burma would not get support 
from across the border.

After a meeting with Mr Numan, Umphang District officials, 
Border Patrol Police and Umphang police agreed that the BBC 
will be allowed to transfer assistance to Burmese refugees 
with a letter issued by the Interior Ministry.

However, the BBC's Bangkok office has not yet received 
permission from the Interior Ministry so no food supplies are 
sent to the camp at present. (BP)


May 3, 1996  (abridged)

Khun Sa's surrender and an easing of border tension have 
opened the way for mini economic boom in the Burmese frontier 
town. Donald Wilson and David Henley report. Crescent Press 

Sleepy Tachilek, just across the narrow Mae Sai river from 
Thailand's booming Chiang Rai province. Tachilek where 
nothing much ever happens, a rural Shan-Burmese border town 
being drugged along on the coat-tails of Thailand economic 
development. The contract between Mai Sai somewhat vulgar 
display of newly-acquired wealth and Tachilek's rather tawdry 
backwardness could scarcely be more acute. And yet, all this 
seems due to change and soon.

In Tachilek the bad times may soon be over, but the price 
could be a virtual Thai takeover of the town's economy.

Until the middle of last year, Thai nationals were permitted 
to visit Tachilek on a day-by-day basis. Most Thai day-
trippers were content to walk across the bridge which 
separates Mae Sai from Tachilek, to spend a few hours 
marvelling at how little Tachilek had to offer in terms of 
entertainment, and to wander back with bags full of duty-free 
cigarettes, Chinese patent medicines, and exotic "jungle 
foods" ranging from forest mushrooms to "tiger's penis" and 
other popular, if protected, aphrodisiacs.

Now, however, the Burmese authorities hope to encourage Thai 
businessmen to take a more serious part in the reconstruction 
of Tachilek in its new role as "The City of the Golden Triangle".

Now that Khun Sa's Mong Tai  soldiers have laid down their 
arms, the pace of Tachilek's development is certain to 
accelerate. Already s stream of building materials from 
cement and steel to tiles and bathroom fittings is pouring 
steadily across the frontier into Burma, much of it by barge 
rather than by bridge _ for the Mae Sai River, though cold 
and fast, is fordable at all but the height of the rainy season.

Meanwhile, workers on the Burmese side labour daily to dredge 
fine sand and shale from the bottom of the Mae Sai River to 
use both in construction work and to develop and extend the 
landing facilities on Burma's side of the river.

At the same time, raw materials _ bamboo, lumber, and 
imported produce from China _ pass back into Thailand, where 
the builders and affluent consumers of Thailand's 
northernmost city are keen to snap up the bargains.

Another Burmese export, which is both tragic and dangerous, 
is that of young girls for the brothels of Mae Sai and 
beyond. Inadequate control of this vicious traffic is 
undoubtedly increasing the Aids threat to Chiang Rai, already 
one of the most seriously afflicted provinces in Thailand.

In Tachilek itself, signs of Thailand's economic presence are 
visible everywhere. The few battered cars and trucks bearing 
Burmese licence plates are outnumbered by Isuzu pick-ups and 
Mercedes Benz saloons with Chiang Rai plates.

The ordinary Burmese on-the-street is resigned about the 
extent of Thai influence, while Thais "doing business" tend 
to be rather discreet. A golf course exists, where visiting 
Thai entrepreneurs can play rounds with officers of the 
Tatmadaw _ Burma's ubiquitous military. Games are won and 
lost, fortunes made and quietly transferred.

Despite _ or perhaps because of _ the apparently boundless 
possibilities for graft and corruption, it must be said that 
the inhabitants of Tachilek _ Burman, Shan, Chinese, Muslim 
and Wa _ are better off than their fellow citizens elsewhere 
in Burma. All seem well fed and adequately dressed. The schools are 
full, and the students cycle home with satchels full of books.


May 6,1996

Burmese soldiers deployed to run Ho Mong, the former jungle 
town of opium warlord Khun Sa near the Thai border, have shot 
and killed three guerrillas alleged to have robbed Thai 
businessmen, Thai police said yesterday.

The guerrillas, from Khun Sa's former Mong Tai Army (MTA), 
had crossed the border into Thailand early on Saturday and 
robbed Thai businessmen of about Bt 2.8 million before 
crossing back into Burma, police said.

"Our Burmese counterparts informed us they had shot and 
killed three suspects, arrested another late on Saturday and 
retrieved some cash," Thai police said.

Burmese soldiers had executed four suspected MTA bandits 
alleged to have robbed Thai commuters on the provincial 
highway in late February, police said.

Thousands of MTA guerrillas who did not surrender with Khun Sa 
to Burmese government troops in January are still roaming the 
Thai-Burma jungles and continue to fight the Burmese government.


May 4, 1996  (abridged)

The United States is not hopeful its declared number one heroin
enemy Khun Sa will be extradited to stand trial on trafficking
indictments, but expects the Burmese junta to hold him
accountable for his "decades" of crime.

US Ambassador to Thailand William Itoh said yesterday that Khun
Sa, who struck an undisclosed peace deal with Rangoon in early
January, had inflicted "personal tragedy" on many lives over the
past two or three decades and should therefore be put on trial in the US.

But he believed that under the present circumstances the ruling
Burmese State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) would not
transfer him to Washington.

The US envoy said Khun Sa, who was indicted in Dec 1989 by a New
York court for drug trafficking, should be held accountable for
his actions and Washington expected Slorc to prove its counter
narcotics commitment by punishing him.

What happens to Khun Sa and his associates would be a "critical
test" of Slorc commitment to "self-professed [anti-drugs]
obligations", he added. Washington would be watching carefully.

"I think this is going to be a very critical test in terms of
whether or not they themselves will live up to these self-
professed obligations, because they are now in the situation
where the Burmese Army itself controls a significant portion of
the border with Thailand," the ambassador said.

Asked what action the US would take if Khun Sa was not
extradited, Itoh said Washington had kept channels open for talks
to improve relations with Burma.

But certain steps including "real progress" in counter-narcotics activities, 
improvement in human rights and the re-establishment of democratic 
institutions in Burma were preconditions for a dialogue, he added.

Burma observers strongly believe that Khun Sa will join the
"club" of ethnic Burmese drug traffickers who are now being
recognised by Slorc after agreeing to a ceasefire with Rangoon.
Many of these traffickers, several of whom have been indicted by
the US, have now laundered the money they earned from drugs
through big investment projects in Burma, the observers noted.

A highly placed source said Khun Sa, who Washington claims was
responsible for more than 60 per cent of the heroin smuggled into
the US, had recently claimed that five prominent Thai politicians
were on his regular payroll.

The source said Khun Sa also named two Western diplomats posted
in a neighbouring capital as also being on his payroll.


May 5, 1996 (abridged)

Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa and Burmese military 
strongman Gen Than Shwe  are expected to meet soon in a 
renewed bid to end the deadlock over construction of the 
Thai-Burmese Friendship Bridge.

Deputy Foreign Minister Charas Puachuay said in Mae Sot 
District, Tak Province, yesterday that he expected the 
Foreign Ministry would arrange such a meeting between the two 
leaders within a month.

He said if Mr Banharn and Gen Than Shwe, chairman of the 
State Law and Order Restoration Council, were able to reach 
an understanding, working officials from both sides would be 
able to solve the disputes. This, in turn, would lead to 
resumption of construction on the bridge.


May 5, 1996

TAK - The Karen National Union went on the offensive yesterday,
attacking a rebel Democratic Karen Buddhist Army base on the
Burmese border in a move to protect nearby Karen refugee camps in
Thailand. Backed by heavy machine-guns and mortars, 150 men of
the KNU Seventh Division's 21st Battalion, led by Col Gyawpiew,
moved against Pulupor base in Burma, opposite Ban Non Luan in Tha
Song Yang district.

KNU spokesmen said the DKBA lost two dead and four wounded in the
hour -long battle before retreating northwards, deeper into
Burma. One of the injured was a DKBA leader, Col Maung Saw.

The spokesmen said the offensive marked change in tactics, which
had previously been purely defensive. It was intended to cause
disarray within DKBA ranks and weaken their capability to attack
the refugees.

"This move will boost morale among the refugees and rid them of
the daily fear of DKBA banditry," a spokesman said.

When Rangoon stopped giving assistance to the DKBA late last year
the guerrillas went on a rampage through the camps, robbing,
killing and injuring dozens of Karen refugees and damaging the
property of Thai villagers living nearby.

In Mae Hong Son, six unidentified bandits yesterday bobbed a
group of Thai cattle traders near the border with Burma, fleeing
with Bt 3 million, local police said.

Pol Lt Theerapong Prungchitwitayaporn of Mae Hong Son police
station said the robbery took place at Tambon Huay Pha in Muang
district, five kilometres from the border. The Thai businessmen
were travelling to purchase cattle in Burma when their vehicle
was stopped by the bandits, one of the victims told police.

The six gunmen, armed with assault rifles, looked like
terrorists, according to the victim's account.


May 6,1996

A total of 107 Burmese immigrants _ 44 men and 63 women _ 
were yesterday arrested on the Mae Sot-Tak Highway for 
illegal entry. Border Patrol Police rounded up the Burmese after they 
emerged from a jungle near the highway. They claimed that 
they were robbed by four troopers during their three-day trek 
through the jungle.


May 4, 1996

SIR: I am writing on the anniversary of the SLORC declaration
that all prisoners of conscience in Burma not deemed a threat of
state security should be released.

I have written six letters to government ministers in Burma
regarding the situation of Tin Than Oo, aged 26, who on April 28,
1995 was sentenced to seen years imprisonment.

My information is that Tin Than Oo was arrested around Feb 20,
1995 in Rangoon while peacefully speaking at the funeral of U Nu.

Tin Than Oo was simply exercising his right to freedom of expression as 
cited in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 19).
He should be released immediately and unconditionally.

I have received no replies to my letters. I hope the conditions
of his detention conform to internationally recognised standards,
particularly in relation to the care of his health.

Sybil E. Brown 
Orkney, Scotland


May 3, 1996

The next Roundtable will take place on Monday, May 13. The meeting will
start at 7pm at the office of Franklin Research & Development at 711
Atlantic Avenue 4th floor, just across the street from South Station and
opposite the Greyhound Bus terminal.  

Our Roundtable  speaker this month is:
Shalini Nataraj
Program Associate for Africa and Asia
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Ms. Natatarj will talk about her recent trip to the Thai-Burmese border and
her brief incursion into Burma!

May Action Alert:  Write to Senator John Kerry!

The "Burma Freedom & Democracy Act" (S.1511) faces a crucial test in the
U.S. Senate.  The bill would impose U.S. economic sanctions on the Burmese
military junta.  The Senate Banking Committee has set a May 17 for hearings
and a vote on the bill. Senator John Kerry is a member of the Senate Banking

Senator John Kerry has previously expressed his opposition to unilateral
U.S. sanctions. However, in response to letters in support of S.1511,
Senator Kerry has stated that has "not yet taken a position" on the bill.

But, on May 17, Senator Kerry has to make up his mind.  We need to let
Senator Kerry know that Massachusetts voters strongly support the economic
sanctions on Burma outlined in the "Burma Freedom & Democracy Act" (S.1511).  

Here is a checklist of items to mention in your letter to Senator Kerry.
Feel free to change the order of the paragraphs and put the letter in your
own words. Send the letter to:

Senator John Kerry
United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510
224-2742  (or call the Capitol Switchboard toll-free at (800) 972-3524)
224-8525 fax      john_kerry@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

A mailed letter will probably have more impact than a fax. A fax will
probably have more impact than an email.  However, for added emphasis, you
could mail, fax and/or email a copy of the same letter. You should state at
the top of the letter, for instance: "VIA MAIL AND FAX."

Call to follow up on your letter and use the call to reiterate your request
that Senator Kerry support S.1511 in the hearings on the bill in the Senate
Banking Committee.

Points you can make in your letter to Senator Kerry.

#1 Ask Senator Kerry to attend the upcoming hearings on the "Burma 
Freedom and Democracy Act" (S.1511), scheduled for May 17 in the Senate 
Banking Committee.  Specifically, ask Senator Kerry to support the bill at 
those hearings.

#2 Make the case that the United States has the obligation and the ability to
take a lead in supporting Aung San Suu Kyi's call for economic sanctions on

#3 Point out that economic sanctions are not designed to "isolate" Burma.
Sanctions put pressure on the Burmese military junta by depriving the regime
of the hard currency and legitimacy it derives from foreign investment.

#4 Let Senator Kerry know that his actions on S.1511 will determine or
influence how you will vote in November.

#5 Ask Senator Kerry to reply and explain what position he will take on the
"Burma Freedom & Democracy Act" (S.1511).  

Please send a copy of your letter (and any reply!) to CPPAX, 25 West Street,
Boston, MA 02111    (617) 426 3040 	cppax@xxxxxxx